By Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2012

Leave it to Republican House members Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan, who call themselves the Young Guns, to try to adapt "Man Up" for the other half of the population. Their effort, which is called the Woman Up campaign, manages to embody pretty much every aspect of machismo.

The logo is the first disaster, with an erect arrow shooting up from the right line of the letter U in “Up”—thus making the symbol for man.

Then there is the fact that the Young Guns, whose stated goal is to “grow the Republican majority in the House,” are still supporting a male cast. According to Rachel Maddow, of the ninety-four candidates the Young Guns are backing for Congress, only fourteen are female.

And there’s the little issue of the Republican War on Women, which, in part, has led to a double-digit gender gap (so far) between Obama and Romney. It seems the Young Guns, and the Republicans in general, are counting on a collective amnesia about all this come November.

But the Young Guns also seem to be promoting something else through their variant on “Man Up”—the ongoing trend (think Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, all the rightwing blondes on Fox News) of trying to make bellicosity and aggression the defining elements of an empowered, Republican version of femininity. In this world, being a “feminist” (a label Palin laughably sought to claim) means packing a gun, being verbally abusive toward anyone you disagree with, intolerant of anyone who is LGBT, anti-choice, contemptuous of the poor, hostile to any government program that doesn’t benefit corporate elites, and, in a nice twist, totally opposed to women’s rights: in other words, Newt Gingrich in a skirt (but preferably hotted up).

The Woman Up campaign is trying to tell us that what is truly empowering for women is to talk and act just like conservative men. Under the rhetorical veneer of female strength and assertiveness, it is really about making patriarchy pleasurable for women.

This is but a short excerpt of Susan Douglas's article. To read the article in its entirety, as well as the whole September issue, please subscribe to The Progressive today for only $14.97--that's 75% off the newsstand price—for a year's worth of this great monthly magazine.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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